Aurora Model Aero Engines (India)

I’m writing an article which mentions the Mills replicas and other engines manufactured in Calcutta, India by the Aurora Model Manufacturing company  (Suresh Kumar). Does anyone out there know for certain when these engines first appeared? I know that it was in the 1970’s, but the exact year of their introduction would be helpful.

Thanks for looking!

33 thoughts on “Aurora Model Aero Engines (India)

  1. Hi I have just read your article on the Mills engines.
    I have a collection of them, I have 2 very nice .75s but interestingly both series 2. 0ne the S.75 with the cut out, numbers 40 430 which is below the 41000 quoted in the article ?
    The other is stamped 1 and EXP and fitted with a throttle, I would be grateful for any comments.
    best regards Pete.

  2. Thanks for the info, Peter. I’ve noted your low serial number. As far as the other number is concerned, I personally have no suggestions. Perhaps some other reader can help?

    1. Good morning Adrian,
      many thanks for your reply, having discussed the mills 1 exp with a fellow collector the only suggestion we could come up with it may have been while they where testing the throttle.
      Pete.

  3. Peter, your theory seems good to me. If you’re correct in thinking that this was an experimental R/C model, then the EXP denotes “Experimental” and the 1 signifies that it was the first such model completed. A very logical explanation. I wonder if there are any more out there?!?

    Why don’t you send a few images via the Wotizit page on my website? I could put the engine up on that page and see if we draw any comments.

    Thanks for the info!

  4. I’ve recently been put in direct contact with Mr. Rishi Kumar of Aurora. He tells me that Aurora stopped making their Mills replicas in June 2013. A few new boxed examples are likely still out there in dealer stocks – Ed Carlson of Carlson Engine Imports still has a few. However, there will be no more. Mr. Kumar will contact me again soon with more information about the early years. Ill share that information here when received.

    1. Wonderful. I have a few Aurora’s and with a little cleaning and fettling all have come up well. Piston and liner fits are usually good though overall workmanship is well below the usual standard.

      I also have one of the rare Aurora ‘Mills” 500’s – the Aurora version of the stillborn Mills 5 c.c.. It runs very well indeed.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQQ_uyGy0C4&t=4s

      Regards and all the best for the festive season

      Derek

      1. I’ve now received a wealth of detailed and authoritative information about Aurora from the present owner of the company, Mr. Rishi Kumar. I now have enough material to write a complete stand-alone article about Aurora and the engines that they made (production ceased in September 2013). A few details will appear in a forthcoming article about the various Mills replicas – watch for it!

  5. I gather from Mr. Rishi Kumar that the exclusive world rights to the Mills name along with the original Mills drawings, dies and production equipment remain available for purchase from Aurora. The Kumar family would really like to see these assets returned to their native England. If anyone’s interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

    1. Hello,

      I was just curious, do you have any idea what Mr. Rishi Kumar would want for the rights of the Mills?

      Thank you,

      Ryan

      1. I don’t have a precise figure, but Rishi has told me that he recognizes that making Mills engines is no longer a commercially significant activity these days. So he understands that the value of these assets is as much historical as anything else. I suspect that he would be quite reasonable – Aurora has no further use for the Mills name and equipment, and he’s made it clear to me that he mainly wants to see the assets returned to the UK if possible. I’ve thought about buying the stuff myself, but I don’t meet the UK criterion!

        Do you have a serious interest? If you do, I can put Rishi in direct contact with you. All he asked is that I ensure that anyone making inquiries has a genuine interest and is not a mere time-waster.

        1. I apologize for not responding sooner. I’ve been on a long vacation. Unfortunately, I do not meet the UK criteria and I respect Rishi’s wishes for the Mills to return back to its’ origins. However, after reading your home-page, I saw that the Ken engine is for sale. I always liked the looks of this engine, but never got around to running one. (It is on my engine run list). Would it be possible to get further information regarding the sale of Ken? I am also in the U.S. and this project may actually suit me quite nicely. If you can let me know at your convenicence, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, I am new to your website, but enjoy reading what is on it!

    2. Hello, I have two Aurora Mills 0.75s which were purchased by
      an Indian friend from a model shop in Calcutta during december 1973 or january 1974. They came in appropriate mills sized boxes with plain brown paper covers and with serials hand written in ball point pen. Several years later, probably 1982 I obtained several more Auroras from Mr Bipin Cholera(sic.) Of engines unlimited in London UK.
      These included a 1.00cc built in 0.75 case but with gold anodised head, a 1.3cc and ac1.5cc (1.3 case but wit gold head), a 2.49cc and a 3.5cc(2.49 case but with gold head);
      as well as a 5.00cc, like Mike Clanfords illustration of prototype, fitted with R/C throttle
      Re New Zealand made Mills 0.75. Chris Murphy and Steve Hainsworth may be suffering from memory lapses, I have two of the 0.75 castings which came from Steve himself, These BOTH have “KIWI” engraved vertically downwards on front of cases.. In your comprehensive article you have neglectedvto mention the Mills 0.75 from USA, this has PSCO in raised letters on the bottom of the crankcase casting. And of course, the so called “Irish” Mills

      1. Not sure what Rees is getting at here regarding memory lapses-all I stated previously was that according to Steve (and I’m quoting him directly-not word of mouth)-only 7 of the 75s were completed-I made no statement whatsoever about how many components were produced-the only one I ever saw in the flesh (and that very briefly) was Neil McDougall’s example-and that had the monobloc carb setup previously mentioned.

  6. Hi Adrian, Was totally unaware of your articles on model engines until this afternoon.

    Have spent the last few hours reading your articles on FROG ‘bicycle spoke’ engines (didn’t know they were so referred to) and despite having many of these engines learned a great deal from your article. I also enjoyed reading your article on the Clan engines. I acquired a MKII .9cc unit recently and flew it in a small F/F model with lightweight R/C gear and it flew well. I live just a few miles from Coaltown of Wemyss in Fife Scotland and didn’t know much of its history until today. I was brought up in Glasgow and knew the Caledonia Model Co quite well first in Pitt St then later when George Leask moved it out into much larger premises in Argyle St. Many people are unaware that he was a founding father of the Scottish Aeromodellers Association and their first Chairman in 1944 when I was also ‘founded’ (born). Funnily enough, I was to follow in his footsteps in 2001 to 2003 and the Association is still going strong 72 years later. Thank you so much for your articles and I hope you keep up the good work. Anything I can do to help – just ask. Kind Regards, Don

      1. Thank you, Adrian, for the Aurora article. It brought back a lot of fond memories for me as my first engine was the Aurora K149 diesel that I bought from India’s Hobby Center in Calcutta. I don’t recall the engine having the Frog name on the crankcase. It came in a plain brown cardboard box, and as far as I remember, had K149 embossed on the crankcase. Rishi might know the details as I sold the engine back to him when I moved to British Columbia in 1990. I also recall newspaper advertisements in the early 70’s for the K100 and K150 diesel engines ( probably the A-M 10 and A-M 15 ) claiming to power models to distances of a couple of miles! My first kit was also from IHC, a Mercury Gnome glider. Good times, indeed!

          1. I live in Surrey and visit the Richmond CL site often to run my diesels as they are frowned upon in my RC club!

    1. The weather seems promising this long weekend. Let me know if you want to meet up and I will bring some engines to run!

  7. Adrian
    What a nostalgia trip for I to go through your Aurora Article. Though I knew many of the facts that you have recounted about Aurora, I was unaware about many.
    Late Mr Suresh Kumar was the grand daddy of aeromodelling in India, and through his efforts was responsible for popularizing the hobby.
    Thanks for your effort to document the history of Aurora Model Manufacturing.
    Best regards

  8. Many years ago I was occupied in writing a travel guide to India. Before that I had been involved in the racing car scene in Britain. Ambling down Shakespeare Sarani in Calcutta in 1978/80 I spotted a nice little sports-racing car on a hotel forecourt. Since you never saw anything other than an “Ambassador” (1955 Morris Oxford) or “Fiat” (Padmini Fiat 1100) this was pretty unusual. So I marched in and was introduced to Mr Kumar, son of the hotel’s owner. Charming man, we had a beer and talked racing cars, especially the difficulty in making them in India – he had actually had to machine the alloy wheels from solid.
    Great fun, but the real surprise was yet to come. In the hotel basement were half-a-dozen men working away producing the Mills engines. Headroom was so limited that they had to sit cross-legged at their lathes and other tools. And people in the comfortable West complain about variable quality!

    1. Thanks for the anecdote, John! Adds a bit more human interest to the story. I may try t0 work it in the existing article.

      Cheers,

      Adrian

    2. Do you still have Mr. Kumar’s contact details? I am in Kerala, India and I am trying to lay my hands on a Mills 75 , as a memento

      1. I have an email address for Mr. Rishi Kumar, but I know that he has no Mills engines left. Last I heard, he was trying to sell the remaining Mills production equipment to an English buyer. I don’t know if that deal ever went through, but I will try to find out.

        Cheers,

        Adrian

    3. And that was ‘Astor” on Shakespeare Sarani.
      I have memories of crawling into the attic to scrounge and pick up usable airframe parts.
      Kumar’s later sold off the property

  9. Hi, did you know that the Kumars also made some Mills 2.4 engines. I have one, actually 3.46cc, but have never seen another. I think it dates late 80s, early 90s.

    1. Yes, I was aware of that. They do indeed date from the 1980’s. I think however that I omitted to mention them in my main Aurora article, although I did mention them in my separate article about the Mills replicas. I’ll have to check the main article and remedy that if it was indeed an oversight on my part.

      Many thanks!

      Cheers,

      Adrian

  10. John and Mark, I’ve worked your respective inputs into the existing article on the Aurora range. Many thanks for the contributions!

    Cheers,

    Adrian

  11. Adrian, my first aeromodel engine as a cadet was a Mills 75 (late 60s) and the Mills is something really special to me.
    I am in India. I don’t do aeromodelling anymore .But I would be interested to know what has happened to the Mills manufacturing unit that Aurora had

  12. Looking for the proper method of removing the recessed rear case cover from an S.75 British made Mills diesel/compression engine. Anyone with experience, description of tools or contact location. Much thanks,
    Kep

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